Indian industrialist Gautam Adani has become the third richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, for the first time an Asian is in the top three. The self-made billionaire more than doubled his fortune to $137.4 billion last year, placing him just behind Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos in the Bloomberg index, climbing 20 positions.
Adani, 60, has made his fortune in ports and commodity trading and now runs India’s third-largest conglomerate, with interests ranging from coal mining and edible oils to airports and the media. The price of the Adani Enterprises group, in which the billionaire owns 75%, has risen more than 2,400% since March 2020 and has doubled in the past six months.
The skyrocketing share prices of other group companies such as Adani Transmission, Adani Power, Adani Ports and Adani Green Energy have helped Mr. Adani surpass the fortune of fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Mr. Adani was born in the city of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat to a middle-class family. He dropped out of school to work briefly in the diamond industry before starting his export business in 1988.
In 1995, diversificationist Mr. Adani won a contract to build and operate the Mundra Commercial Port in Gujarat, which has since become India’s largest. At the same time, Mr. Adani entered into thermal power generation and coal mining in India and abroad. In recent years, the conglomerate has ventured into petrochemicals, cement, data centers, and copper processing, and built a renewable energy company with ambitious goals.